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    “MARA” (DVD Review)

    There’s iciness to Scandinavian cinema that is hard to pin down, a certain class of emotional detachment that fascinates. This is especially true of the Swedes who, from Bergman on up, have long hooked us with silences and atmosphere rather than explicit shocks or attention-baiting sensory overload.

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    “DISCOPATH” (Fantasia Movie Review)

    Amidst a sea of films attempting to recapture the glories of bygone exploitation fare, DISCOPATH (a world premiere at the current Fantasia festival) gets it right—a swift, satisfying salute to the slasher cinema of the ’70s and early ’80s, with a premise it’s hard to believe no one employed back in the day.

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    “WILLOW CREEK” (Fantasia Movie Review)

    Considering that the Patterson-Gimlin film clip of a wandering Bigfoot is perhaps the most famous bit of amateur monster footage in history, it’s surprising that a modern vérité horror film hasn’t directly spun off from it until now. And just as surprising is that the man who has done so is Bobcat Goldthwait.

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    “HANDS OF THE RIPPER” (Blu-ray Review, Synapse Films)

    Before mulling over the merits of Synapse’s new HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971) Blu-ray, let’s take a moment to applaud Synapse’s approach to their Hammer Films licence. Instead of launching with any of the beloved Lee/Cushing classics, Synapse have instead given their famously fastidious treatment to the dustier, more obscure titles from Hammer’s twilight days. For more casual fans of the studio like this reviewer, the chance to finally slap paws on these under-acknowledged titles allows a different perspective on the storied Hammer and its long legacy of blood.

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    “THE CAR” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    Released amidst a slew of JAWS knock offs, THE CAR was completely dismissed in 1977, and not without reason. It is a pretty dumb movie. However, it’s also a gloriously dumb movie and that’s the sort of thing that cults are built on. The movie may not have achieved the revival status of Steven Spielberg’s similar motor-monster-movie DUEL or even 70s car chase relic VANISHING POINT, but it’s certainly developed a base of followers. Guillermo del Toro even had a perfect replica of the titular evil vehicle built to drive around Los Angeles as a one man movie homage and he’s far from the only one with fond memories of discovering the flick in drive ins, on worn down VHS tapes, or late night cable screenings. There’s an undeniable charm to Elliot Silverstein’s ridiculous exploitation movie. While it’s not the most obvious choice for a pristine new Arrow Blu-ray, THE CAR is a fun addition to their ever-growing line up of oddball genre releases and one in need of a wider audience of those special folks with a sweet tooth for cheese.

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    “COLDWATER” (Movie Review)

    One of the most debilitating aspects of life is frustration, frustration born out of being stuck. In COLDWATER, Brad Lunders (P.J. Boudousqué) is caught at first in a cycle of recreational drug dealing and personal, familial anger, only broken by a tragic event that leads to an even more vicious purgatory in the titular juvenile rehabilitation facility. What follows is a stark, bleak portrait of the wrongheaded aims of violent, military-style rehabilitation, as well as an intimate tale of that inner vexation.

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    “BENEATH” (Movie Review)

    BENEATH is a movie that plays best if you don’t take it too literally. That may seem an odd thing to say about a flick in which a killer fish chows down on hapless teenagers, but then most nature-amok low-budgeters aren’t directed by Larry Fessenden, who never metaphor he didn’t like.

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